Founded in 1974, MDRC is committed to improving the lives of people with low incomes. We design promising new interventions, evaluate existing programs, and provide technical assistance to build better programs.
MDRC develops evidence about solutions to some of the nation’s most difficult problems. Explore our projects and variety of products, including publications, videos, podcast episodes, and resources for researchers and practitioners.
The Houston Housing Authority (HHA) joined an MDRC-led research project called MyGoals for Employment Success, an innovative employment coaching intervention informed by behavioral psychology. This blog post describes the experiences of HHA staff members and the MDRC team and how they used participatory research methods to inform decision-making.
Financial aid reduces dropout rates, yet college students are unaware of many financial resources available to them. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act requires colleges to tell students they can apply for more aid. These evidence-based strategies can help schools create effective messages about aid to get positive responses.
Unemployed or underemployed parents have trouble paying child support. In the Families Forward Demonstration, child support agencies sought to help parents get better jobs and increase their earnings by teaching job skills needed by local employers. The questions arising from the project may help other agencies evaluate prospective job training partners.
The InPractice blog is MDRC’s place for sharing resources and tips developed by practitioners, for practitioners. This review of the past year’s posts shows how our program partners adjusted to difficult, uncertain conditions and continued to deliver services during the worst of the pandemic.
New approaches to child support enforcement aim to be less punitive and to serve the whole family, not just child support recipients. Lessons from Washington State's Alternative Solutions Program show how this shift in perspective has made a difference during the pandemic.
Process maps are “human-centered” tools social services organizations can use to improve their service delivery by breaking down complex problems and addressing them collaboratively. See how the Los Angeles Community College District improved its Los Angeles College Promise program by bringing students into the making of its process maps.
Here are MDRC’s Top Five Tips for social service and educational programs adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. They focus on ensuring staff members’ and participants’ personal safety so that agencies can continue providing high-quality services and support while working remotely. They also include guidance on protecting participant confidentiality.
Building connections among staff members can feel especially challenging in a time when remote work and video conference calls make up most of our working day. Icebreaker activities are fun, useful tools that managers, supervisors, training facilitators, and coaches can use to enliven meetings and strengthen team and group bonds.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made written communication even more important. The checklist in this post incorporates principles of behavioral science to help organizations assess their current communications and get their point across more effectively.
Programs across the country must adjust to working remotely while serving clients in the context of COVID-19, and it’s a challenge — especially if your work typically depends on in-person contact. Here are some tips to help run remote group meetings with staff, stakeholders, and participants in this uncertain, unsettling time.
MDRC is known for its groundbreaking evaluations and demonstrations of social policies and programs. Our success depends to a great extent on the work of MDRC’s operations staff, field liaisons who partner with service providers to solve everyday problems and create valuable learning exchanges. The InPractice blog series highlights lessons from MDRC’s work with programs, featuring posts on recruiting participants and keeping them engaged, supporting provider teams, using data for program improvement, and providing services remotely.
Our operations staff members, who write most InPractice posts, have firsthand professional experience — including as state and local government administrators, program managers, case workers, teachers, school administrators, and community organizers. They are relationship builders and creative trainers who help programs develop and adopt new ways of working, translate complex research agendas into clear and practical guidance, provide tailored technical assistance, facilitate opportunities to hear multiple perspectives and experiences, and refine fundraising efforts. They strive to understand programs and their participants inside and out. These core aspects of MDRC’s work are bolstered by our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.